Fried Pork and Shrimp Wontons

When I was testing out appetizers to share with you guys this week, I knew I wanted to fry something. I have to confess that as much as frying used to terrify me, I kind of love it now. I’ve learned that I don’t need a huge pot of oil to do it (which was really the main reason I hated it previously), and in fact, I rarely fry anything in more than a few cups of oil.

Oh, and I’ve totally convinced myself that it’s healthier to enjoy fried food at home than to eat the exact same thing out somewhere. I know, I’m delusional. The doughnuts I fry at home are just as bad for me as the ones at the local coffee shop. I guess the reality is that I just indulge less frequently if I only eat what I make myself. And I should probably tell you that I only fry maybe 4 or 5 times a year – just in case I’ve given you the impression I’m in my kitchen on a weekly basis making french fries :)

Fried Pork and Shrimp Wontons

Anyway, I finally decided on these pork and shrimp wontons as my Super Bowl week indulgence. The recipe comes from The Chinese Takeout Cookbook, one of my new favorites, which (obviously) is a collection of Chinese takeout dishes you can make at home. We almost never order Chinese takeout anymore since finding a ton of recipes to replicate our favorites at home, and we probably won’t be picking up the phone any time soon with all the recipes we have flagged in this book!

The great thing about these wontons is that you can assemble them ahead of time and throw them in the freezer so the only thing you need to do on the day of your party is fry them. And you really don’t even need to be standing over a pot of oil frying them on demand for your guests. I didn’t dig into my first wonton until nearly an hour after it came out of the oil, and it was still fantastic! The wonton wrapper was super crisp and though the filling only has a few ingredients it’s very flavorful. I just dipped my wontons in soy sauce but I think they’d be really great with a sweet and sour sauce!

Fried Pork and Shrimp Wontons
from The Chinese Takeout Cookbook by Diana Kuan

{Note: you can assemble the wontons ahead of time and freeze them, just leaving the frying to do at the last minute. I spread mine in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze – once frozen, I transfer to a resealable plastic bag.}

1 lb ground pork
1/2 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined, cut into small pieces
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
50 wonton wrappers
canola oil for frying

Add the pork, shrimp, scallions, ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, salt, and pepper to a medium bowl. Stir to combine and evenly distribute.

Cover the wonton wrappers with a damp towel so they don’t dry out as you fill and assemble them. Set up a platter for the assembled wontons and have a second damp towel ready to cover them (again, you don’t want them to dry out). Fill a small bowl with water – you’ll use this to seal the wrappers.

To assemble: Place a wonton wrapper on your work surface, with a corner edge pointing upward. Moisten the tip of your finger in the water and brush the edges of the wonton wrapper. Add 1 heaping teaspoon of the filling to the center of the wrapper, then fold the bottom corner up and over the filling to meet the top corner. Press the edges to seal, pressing out as much air as you can.

Fried Pork and Shrimp Wontons

Moisten your fingertip again, and brush the bottom 2 corners of the triangle. Fold the corners into the center so they overlap one another.

Fried Pork and Shrimp Wontons

Transfer the wonton to the platter you set up earlier, and cover with the damp towel. Before you proceed to assemble all of the wontons, get the oil heating. Add about 3 cups of oil to the bottom of a Dutch oven and set over medium heat. Heat the oil to 350 F while you assemble the wontons with the remaining filling and wrappers.

When the oil is ready, drop about 6 wontons at a time into the pan and fry for 4 minutes, turning them a few times to brown them evenly on both sides. Remove with a spider strainer and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Return the oil to 350 F before adding a new batch of wontons to the pan. Serve the wontons with your favorite dipping sauce.

Makes about 50 wontons